This Free App Will Take Your Instagram Photos to the Next Level

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Taking a great photo on your smartphone and sharing it with others has never been easier. However, creating design that is elegant, imaginative, and even just plain old good looking can be a complete nightmare—especially on mobile devices. While some of us can only dream of turning our quick smartphone snaps into polished images with fancy fonts and meticulous frames, the Android and iOS app Studio Design can lend a hand to even the most artistically challenged smartphone users.

Originally launched in August 2013, Studio Design recently hit its big 2.0 update, bringing in a refreshed interface and the ability to overlay designs over the live-view camera. At its core, the app lets you enhance your photos with text, shapes, thought bubbles, and all sorts of odds and ends you can’t incorporate with image filters.

The best thing about Studio Design is that users don’t have to spend hour drawing a delicately laced ribbon because the app just comes with a fantastic set of shapes built-in. After picking or taking your photo, the app lets you thrown on your various elements to create a beautiful layered design that is destined to be a hit in your Instagram feed. The app comes with a variety of free overlays including mantras like “Today Is Good” and half-moon frames which sit on top of your images.

While users have always been able to paste on interesting designs onto their images, this new version of Studio design lets users take remixed photos right from the camera. After selecting a remix the camera app will automatically apply any frames or text right over what the camera sees. Beyond some window dressing, these remixes will also apply color gradients to turn the entire picture black and white if it’s an effect of the remix.

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The newly updated Studio Design app also trades its old pastel, washed-out look for a darker interface, which contrasts well with the colorful creations you’ll make. Beyond the new coat of paint, the Studio Design’s makers, Overlay Studio, has repositioned the app’s drawer of tools to pop up from the bottom of the screen. The new interface is much more fitting for long portrait orientation of smartphones whereas the previous version of the app pulled a menu from the side.

The original Studio Design app already set out to do change the way we look at design in the same way Instagram revitalized photography. Now the new version builds on the old formula bringing an easier to use interface with new remix filter that lets you pick a design first and then frame your photos to fit. What’s more, the app has a lively community that’s filled with inspiring designs and even more amazing layered overlays than the app originally came with. It’s a really neat app to pick up and try and it’s an absolute no-brainer for the price of completely free.

Studio Design is an iOS and Android app available for Free in the iTunes and Play Store.

Kevin Lee is a freelance writer who types all day and listens to his ever-expanding music library. Follow Kevin Lee on Twitter at @baggingspam.